Why Does Dropbox Ask for Full Access?

When you first link Scrivener for iOS with Dropbox, you will be asked to grant Scrivener full access to your Dropbox account. Apps using the Dropbox APIs can use two types of Dropbox access:

  1. Full access - the app has full access to your entire Dropbox folder.
  2. Folder access - the app's access is restricted to a /Dropbox/Apps/AppName folder.

Scrivener uses (1), full access, but it behaves like (2), in that it will never touch anything outside the folder you select for syncing.

The reason it uses full access is so that users can choose which Dropbox folder Scrivener syncs with. If it didn't have full access, users would be forced into storing any projects they wished to sync with iOS devices in the /Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder. We used this form of access during early beta-testing, but the feedback we received was that many users wanted to be able to choose their own Dropbox folder for their iOS projects. For instance, users might have a "Writing" folder, like this:

/Dropbox
    /Writing
        /Ideas
        /Notes
        /Scrivener Projects
            /Archived
            /Current

By granting Scrivener full access, it is possible for users to set up Scrivener to sync with (in the example above) their existing /Dropbox/Writing/Scrivener Projects/Current folder.

Please rest assured that Scrivener will never touch anything on Dropbox outside the folder you choose. Although it technically has full access to your Dropbox folder, it acts exactly the same as an app with only "folder access", because it only ever sees and syncs files inside the folder you choose. It does this using the Dropbox API's ability to set a subfolder path and only detect, read and write files in that subfolder.